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Hybrid Model Proposal, Athletics and SRO Town Hall Updates, November 6, 2020

November 6th, 2020

The following message from HCPSS Superintendent Michael Martirano was sent to the HCPSS community on Friday, November 6, 2020:

I want to give you an update on our ongoing planning regarding the potential move to a hybrid or other instructional model. On October 22, the Board approved the health metrics that would allow students and staff to safely return to school buildings in a hybrid format or signal the need to revert to a virtual model. At the Board meeting yesterday, November 5, we presented a detailed proposal for a hybrid instructional delivery model that would give students significant opportunities to learn in the classroom, retain the flexibility to move between hybrid and virtual as circumstances evolve, and maintain safety for students and staff to the greatest extent possible. The full presentation, and additional context provided during my preliminary remarks, are available online.

The Board is scheduled to take action on a hybrid model no later than the November 19 Board meeting. I want to stress that approving a hybrid model is separate from determining if students and staff will transition to a hybrid model in the second semester. The approved metrics and hybrid model, once approved by the Board, will provide the tools to make a decision regarding the second semester instructional model, which will be communicated on November 19. I want to emphasize that all decisions about the second semester will be dependent on where our metrics stand and the guidance of the Howard County Health Department, and with careful consideration for the well-being and safety of our students and staff.

The input of parents/guardians, students, staff are important to inform the Board’s decisions.

The well-being of our students, staff and families is always uppermost in my thoughts and heart. Unfortunately, COVID-19 positivity cases have been rising, and our collective well-being depends heavily on the continued vigilance of us all. Please, help to keep yourself and your loved ones safe by wearing a mask and always following social distancing guidelines.

Additional Informational Items

Athletics

Last week, the Maryland State Board of Education approved a start date of December 7, 2020, for high school athletics for the 2020-2021 school year. The benefits of this revised plan include longer athletic seasons and the inclusion of all sports, while allowing districts sufficient time to provide for appropriate health and safety protocols, staffing levels, competition schedules and other preparations essential to a successful season.

HCPSS is tentatively planning to start voluntary in-person conditioning beginning on November 16, pending the approval of the plan by the Howard County Health Department. High school Athletics and Activities Managers and coaches will reach out to the families of student-athletes at each high school with more information about the start of conditioning once plans are finalized.

Please note that Winter sports registration opened today, November 6, and is required for students to participate in conditioning. Additional information about the winter competition season will be provided as it becomes available.

SRO Town Hall

HCPSS’ extended review of the School Resource Officer (SRO) program continues, and the input of students, families and community stakeholders is an essential part of this process. A virtual Town Hall about SROs in schools will be held on Thursday, November 12, where a panel will respond to pre-submitted questions. Details on how to register for and watch the town hall are available online. Questions for the panelists can be submitted by emailing townhall@howardcountymd.gov.

General feedback about the SRO program may be emailed to SROinput@hcpss.org.

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